The Lincolnton City Council decided to delay taking any action regarding Internet sweepstakes operations Thursday night, opting instead to let the N.C. Supreme Court pass its judgment on such businesses first.
In a unanimous vote, council members tabled imposing privilege license fees or zoning standards on the centers, both of which were potential options laid before them by Planning Director Laura Simmons.
The council had previously asked her to look into what could be done in terms of regulating Internet sweepstakes centers. After compiling research on the subject from other jurisdictions, planning staff, along with City Attorney T.J. Wilson, recommended the council postpone consideration of any sort of fees until pending cases before the state’s Supreme Court are decided upon.
The outcome of those cases could ultimately decide the legality of the businesses.
It was also the recommendation of planning staff to amend the city’s Unified Development Ordinance to require a 1,000-foot separation between Internet sweepstakes operations to prevent excessive numbers of them in any one area. However, the council did not choose to proceed with the proposal at this time.
As the Times-News has previously reported, the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners recently approved standards to regulate the centers. The regulations call for separation requirements from residential zoning districts, churches and schools, certain access and visibility requirements, limits on hours of operation and parking specifications.
North Carolina’s highest court began hearing arguments on video sweepstakes in mid-October.
In other City Council action at Thursday’s meeting: